The first local “Purple Heart Celebration and
Remembrance” took place on Monday, August 7, 2017, at exactly 6 p.m.
Family and friends gathered at the Logan County Courthouse Flag Pole
to acknowledge and thank Purple Heart recipients in Logan County.
Under the direction of Melanie and Joe Schaler a panel of special
guests shared in a ceremony to honor military personnel who have
received the Purple Heart for “any singularly meritorious action.”
Jim Turley brought the crowd to attention by playing the bagpipes.
of Ceremonies Joe Schaler started the evening by thanking everyone
for coming and introduced the special guests who would be helping
with the celebration. He made specific mention of his wife, Melanie,
who was instrumental in organizing the evening.
Guzzardo, then, stepped to the microphone to offer the Invocation.
Following the Flag raising by the Marine Corps League, Jim Harnacke
led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bolton led the audience in singing a National Anthem Medley
including America the Beautiful, God Bless America, and the National
Pete Dowding, Junior Vice Commander of the Military Order Purple
Heart Hayes/Krell Chapter #159, spoke of the history of the Purple
The military practice in Europe was
to honor high-ranking officers who had achieved victory. In America,
however, General Washington believed the “road to glory in a patriot
army and a free country is . . . open to all.” Most historians
specify that only three people received it during the American
Revolutionary War, all of them noncommissioned officers and the only
ones to receive the award from General Washington himself.
Beatrice Mary McDonald was the first known woman to receive the
Purple Heart. Her unit was assigned to work at a British Clearing
Hospital located four miles behind the lines in Belgium. A German
aircraft bombed the hospital wounding her with shell fragments.
Chief Nurse McDonald lost her right eye but remained in the Army and
served throughout the war.
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Dowding concluded his dialogue by assuring everyone that “under the
auspices of the National Americanism Program, the Military Order of
the Purple Heart continues to research the origins and history of
the Badge of Military Merit and the Purple Heart in honor of those
who have sacrificed their lives or wellbeing in the service of their
Illinois State Representative, Tim Butler, who was instrumental in
making Illinois a Purple Heart State, had a few words for those who
earned the special merit. First Rep. Butler thanked Sheralyn for
singing saying, “The National Anthem is my favorite song.” He
explained the National Anthem is a song about our flag, but also a
song about a battle at Baltimore Harbor. He then thanked those in
the service by saying, “It’s those of you who serve who make those
broad stripes a little nicer when we look at the flag and make those
stars a little brighter.”
Representative Butler ended with the idea, “Liberty and justice are
something to stand for.”
Pastor L.C. Sutton of Eminence Christian Church offered the
evening's Benediction followed by Mr. Turley playing the bagpipes.
The grand finale of the celebration was Sadie Bolton playing Taps on
her purple trumpet. Taps is a bugle call played at dusk, during flag
ceremonies, and at military funerals. Many attending the celebration
had tears in their eyes as Sadie shared her rendition.
Mr. Schaler lead the effort for Logan County to be the first county
in the United States to become a Purple Heart Community. He didn’t
do it just to be first, he did it because Logan County is a veteran
friendly community and he is proud to be part of a great community.
If you missed this year's “Purple Heart Celebration and
Remembrance,” be sure to look for it next year. It’s a community
celebration you don’t want to miss!